It’s APRIL and things are hopping in the Bluegrass! You can always tell when Keeneland is getting ready to open by how there are soooooo many more people in Downtown Paris…and they come from all over the world. Literally. The Guesthouse at Rosecrest Farm is fully booked for the month of April, most of the people who come in to Loch Lea Antiques are looking for horse items, and there’s lots of excitement about “Who will make the Kentucky Derby.” People talk about what a big deal it is going to be to have the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland this November, and it is a great thing, but they don’t realize what a huge deal every April is! Keeneland hosted 270,093 people at the 2014 Spring Meet, and 251,574 last Fall. The Breeders’ Cup is going to sell 28,000 reserve tickets for each of the two days of Breeders’ Cup races this year…..which would put this fall with the Breeders’ Cup only 10 percent ahead of last spring’s meet! My point is that Keeneland and the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby is a big, big, BIG deal economically for the Bluegrass every April. It’s spread out over the entire month, and some people come year, after year, after year. We love it. So here’s some more information for you about those 25 Historic Highway Markers in Paris and Bourbon County. The Guesthouse at Rosecrest Farm is located in the southern half of the county, and I’ll tell you about the four located in that part of the county. Click here by the way, if you’d like to go back to our first posting about the county’s Historic Sites.
As you leave Paris on Highway 627 (aka Winchester Road) to come to Rosecrest Farm, at the corner of Link Avenue and Winchester Road is Historical Marker #1886, which highlights the life of Garrett Davis. (A lot of people miss it, because that’s also where you start getting a glimpse of the spectacular Claiborne Farm on the left hand side of the road.) Called “a statesman, a patriot, an excellent debater, and an honest and faithful servant of the cause of liberty”, he supported Henry Clay, the preservation of the Union and helped keep Kentucky from seceding in 1861. After the Civil War he promoted peaceful reconstruction in Kentucky. You can click here to read more about his story.
If you proceed past the Guesthouse on US 627 and go another three or four miles, you’re traveling the heart of the 22,000 acre Stoner Creek Rural Historic District. The district includes Stone Farm (photographed so beautifully at left….image available at Paris’ Frames on Main Gallery). This route is how you reach Stony Point Road and Historical Marker #1141 that marks the birthplace of John Fox, Jr., born December 16, 1862, at Stony Point. [Here’s a bit of trivia for you — he was born in Bourbon County because his father had been hired by the mother of well-known Bourbon County artist Hattie Hutchcraft Hill to teach her children and the neighboring children at the Stony Point Academy!]
John Fox, Jr. became a well known war correspondent, but his main claim to fame is writing The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, which was the first American book to sell over a million copies. He went on to write Trail of the Lonesome Pine, which also sold over a million copies and was three times made into movies, including the first movie shot in Technicolor (starring Fred MacMurray and Henry Fonda). Click here to read the complete write-up on him, courtesy of Historic Paris-Bourbon County and the Hopewell Museum. By the way, there is a top-notch genealogical research library at Duncan Tavern in Paris that is named in his honor — The John Fox, Jr Genealogical Library.
If you come to Paris on “Lexington Road” (aka US 27/68), then you’ve traveled what is considered one of the ten most scenic highways in the US and you’ve passed Historical Marker #1855 at the corner of Hutchison Road, which tells the story of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church. The church was founded in 1787 and built a church at this site in 1820. That building burned and the current structure was built in 1904 to replace it. Click here for the rest of the story.
The fourth historic site in the southern part of Bourbon County is Historical Marker #2059 (870 See Road, 3/4 mile north of Jct. KY 437 & See Road) and marks the location of the death of Edward Boone, usually called Ned. Apparently Ned looked so much like his more famous brothers that the Shawnee Indians thought they had killed Daniel Boone when they ambushed Ned at this site. Click here to read the whole story. The spot, now known as Boone Creek, is a beautiful setting.